Diversion of Somali and African Youth from the Juvenile Court System in Hennepin County

In 2004, Abdi Ali met a young Somali woman and an Oromo teenager at a homeless youth shelter in North Minneapolis. Abdi’s realization that there were significant cultural hurdles for many of the youth in these underserved communities led to a Human Rights Fellowship from the Otto Bremmer Foundation in 2006 to better understand the causes of Somali youth and the cultural responsiveness of the organizations that work with them. Since then, the Center for Multicultural Mediation has evolved to meet the needs of these communities and the parties they interact with. Focusing on a multi-pronged approach to addressing these issues, CMM’s goal is to lay the foundation for future educational and employment self-sufficiency in the African population. In 2019, CMM helped divert over 160 youth from the court system to more effective and restorative forms of justice through the African Youth Diversion program.

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